By: Jennifer Saba
While Dow Jones is touting the debut of a skinnier Wall Street Journal today, many employees at the paper want to see more heft. The union representing staffers at the Journal took out an ad today in a rival, The New York Times, calling into question Dow Jones? commitment to quality journalism.
“This size of the paper isn’t the only thing shrinking at the Wall Street Journal,” reads the headline of the ad accompanied by a hand dangling a miniature version of the paper. “Today the publishers are unveiling a smaller paper in a bid to save money,” the ad continues. “Unfortunately, if the newspaper’s owner, Dow Jones & Co., has its way, the quality of the paper is also in danger of shrinking.”
The ad, roughly three quarters of a page, runs in section A and cost the IAPE $115,000. Originally, the ad was quoted at $85,000 but to ensure placement in today’s paper, the union paid extra.
The ad encourages readers to send an e-mail (email@example.com) to the union asking Dow Jones to preserve the quality of the Journal by “preserving its quality workforce.”
Steven Yount, president of the Independent Association of Publisher’s Employees (IAPE), told E&P the ad had been in the works since December 2005. The union is currently negotiating with Dow Jones executives over new contracts — a slow-going process that has coincided with the launch of the new Journal.
Yount said the two sides are still at loggerheads regarding major issues, including a proposed increase — 400% according to the IAPE — of health care costs.
“The only way we would not have done this [ad] is if we had made progress at the bargaining table,” Yount said.
In an e-mail statement to E&P from Dow Jones, the company said that IAPE ?simply has its facts wrong? citing that readership and advertising revenue are growing.
?The redesigned Journal that debuted today is aimed at better serving readers and advertisers. It is the collective work of hundreds of very talented people all across Dow Jones, many of whom are union members. It is simply unfair of IAPE to doubt their commitment to readers and customers and to the quality of the products they create,” the e-mail said.
The IAPE and The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America, which helped with the media buy, didn’t even consider placing the ad in the Journal. “In years past, the Journal has not been anxious to run ads from the IAPE. Instead of going in that direction, we went to the New York Times,” Yount explained, adding they wanted to reach executives at Dow Jones and the Times would be the best place.
The IAPE ran an ad in the Times three years ago when the group negotiated for a new contract — a bitter process that resulted in a byline strike by Journal reporters.
Yount said management and the union are set to meet four times this month to hash out a new contract. “We are concerned about the future of this company and we want a quality product and for Dow Jones to be successful,” he said.